Battle of Flodden Field - 1513


Battle of FloddenFLODDEN, or FLODDEN FIELD, near the village of Branxton, in Northumberland, England (10 m. N.W. of Wooler), the scene of a famous battle fought on the 9th of September 1513 between the English and the Scots. 

On the 22nd of August a great Scottish army under King James IV. had crossed the border. For the moment the earl of Surrey (who in King Henry ViII.’s absence was charged with the defence of the realm) had no organized force in the north of England, but James wasted much precious time among the border castles, and when Surrey appeared at Wooler, with an army equal in strength to his own, which was now greatly weakened by privations and desertion, he hall not advanced beyond Ford Castle. 

The English commander promptly sent in a challenge to a pitched battle, which the king, in spite of the advice of his most trusted counsellors, accepted. On the 6th of September, however, he left Ford and took up a strong position facing south, on Flodden Edge. Surrey reproaches for the alleged breach of faith, and a second challenge to fight on Millfield Plain were this time disregarded. The English commander, thus foiled, executed a daring and skilful march round the enemy’s flank, and on the 9th drew up for battle in rear of the hostile army. 

It is evident that Surrey was confident of victory, for he placed his own army, not less than the enemy, in a position where defeat would involve utfer ruin. On his appearance the Scots hastily changed front and took post on Branxton Hill’, facing north. The battle began at 4 P.M. Surrey’s archers and cannon soon gained the upper hand, and the Scots, unable quietly to endure their losses, rushed to close quarters. Their left wing drove the English back, but Lord Dacre’s reserve corps restored the fight on this side. 

In all other parts of the field, save where James and Surrey were personally opposed, the English , gradually gained ground. The king’s corps was then attacked by Surrey in front, and by Sir Edward Stanley in flank. As the Scots were forced back, a part of Dacre’s force closed upon the other flank, and finally Dacre himself, boldly neglecting an almost intact Scottish division in front of him, charged in upon the rear of King James’s corps. Surrounded and attacked on all sides, this, the remnant of the invading army, was doomed. The circle of spearmen around the king grew less and less, and in the end James and a few of his nobles were alone left standing. Soon they too died, fighting to the last man. 

Among the ten thousand Scottish dead were all the leading men in the kingdom of Scotland, and there was no family of importance that had not lost a member in this great disaster. The “King’s Stone,” said to mark the spot where James was killed, is at some distance from the actual battlefield.

Scottish dead included twelve earls, fifteen lords, many clan chiefs an archbishop and above all King James himself. It is said that every great family in Scotland mourned the loss of someone at the Battleof Flodden. The dead were remembered in the famous Scottish pipe tune The Flowers of the Forest. 

Sir Walter Scott set the scene...

From Flodden ridge
The Scots beheld the English host...

Killed at the Battle of Flodden Field, 9th September 1513

There are, besides, in Abercromby's catalogue(1), seventeen knights and twenty-five gentlemen, heads of families of note;
Besides the above, two hundred gentlemen of the name of Douglas fell in the battle. In short, there was scarcely a family of any consequence in Scotland, who had not a member killed on the Field of Flodden.

Sir William Douglas, 6th Baron of Drumlanrig, killed or possibly died as a result of wounds sustained at the battle

Sir Robert Douglas of Lochleven 

John Douglas, 5th Laird of Mains

Among others, Lachlan Cattanach MacLean of Duart was killed.

The 11th Chief of MacFarlane and many of his clansmen fell at Flodden in 1513

Archibald Campbell 2nd Earl of Argyll

Master of the household to James IV

Lt-General of the Isles 1500

Killed commanding the Scottish vanguard at the defeat by the English at Flodden Field 9th September 1513.




1.  I have not located who this Abercrombie might be; nor have I located his catalogue.

See also:
•  Map of the battlefield